An image of Pelu kámané (serving bowl)

Sawos people

(Papua New Guinea  – )

Pelu kámané (serving bowl)

Location
Not on display
Further information

Kamangaui is one of several Sawos villages known for their conical-shaped pottery bowls, used for serving food. Pots and sago are traded from Kamangaui to Timbunke and Tambanum on the Sepik River, in exchange for fish, requiring a three-hour walk in either direction.

Clay is dug solely by women who also make the initial form using a coiling technique. Men then decorate the pots with a prodigious variety of designs, each depicting specific totems of the clans they represent. With its slightly closed opening that keeps food warm, this bowl is known as a 'pelu kámané'. According to Gabriel Mowe from Kamangaui, the design recalls the 'silik nyuwa' (spider webs) found inside a village house.

[entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 11]

Place of origin
Kamangaui Village, Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Sawos people
Year
mid 20th century
collected 1965
Media
Ceramic
Medium
earthenware, coiled and chip-carved
Dimensions
24.0 cm height; 25.5 diameter
Credit
Purchased 1965
Accession number
419.1994